I'm A Comeback Kid
It’s fair to say this past year has been one of the most hellacious of my life. 2016 seems to have sucked for everyone –– from losing some of Hollywood’s greatest legends to losing our goddamn minds at the polling place, this is the year that launched a thousand memes about the sheer garbage fire of it all.
Behind probably only the year my parents got divorced, this year is number 2 worst ever. It could have it’s own trophy for shittiness. And it’s easy, when you’re having an unfortunate series of events, to not look on the bright side. When I’m doubled over in pain or trying to figure out how to pay exorbitant medical bills, people who talk about looking on bright sides make me want to punch them in the face. Hard.
But lately I’ve taken to being that person for myself, and as it were, it’s nearly physically impossible to punch yourself in the face. As I’m on a self-described “upswing” from my personal longest flare ever, it’s a little easier to find the bright sides. It’s easier to reflect now on the things the last year of garbage has brought me–– aside from painkillers and a geriatric bedtime.
This year has brought me new skills. I’ve gone from a girl who got dinner from her local taqueria several nights a week (and pizza rolls for the rest) to a girl who is currently multi-tasking–– writing while keeping an eye on my spinach tortellini soup. I taught myself how to cook. I joined a gym to fend off all the prednisone weight. I took up meditating to keep myself from going insane with all the time I spent in solitary, sick kid confinement. This year forced me to become an adult in ways I otherwise would have continued putting off for another decade.
This year brought back old loves. Not the literal, romantic kind because hey–– I spent most of this year chilling in pajamas and it hasn’t been super sexy. But as an English major and major book nerd, I spent the first 22 years of my life reading incessantly, before life and a full-time job got in the way. Being sicker than usual brought me back to reading. I’ve read an impressive amount of books in the past year and have no intentions of slowing down anytime soon.
This year strengthened bonds. They say you find out who your friends are when times get tough, and that’s been abundantly true. I’ve solidified the fact that my “ride or dies” are actually down to be there for the dying in pain part. My best friends still want to be my best friends, even when I’m too sick to go out and be a very fun friend. I have rarely felt quite so loved as I have in the last 10 or so months.
This year taught me appreciation. I will never again view my body in the same way. I’m not saying I’m about to go train for a marathon anytime soon, but I’ve gained a new appreciation for the things I can do physically. My body is like the Little Engine That Could, working way harder than everyone else’s just to keep me functional. Since I now know what it’s like to have days (or months even) where walking up a flight of stairs is hard, I am now decidedly here to make the most of the good days–– which includes saying yes to things I never thought I would, like signing up for a ballet class, and climbing a rock wall, and planning my first trip alone abroad.
I like to think I’m still myself in all the essential, important ways. I’m just maybe a better, more grateful, better educated me. I’m never going to be one of those people running around talking about how I’m “grateful for my disease.” If I had 3 wishes with a genie right this second, wish number one would absofuckinglutely be that I wish I was healthy. But since genies seem to only exist in Disney movies, I’m accepting things and moving on, and trying to catch some bright sides along the way.